I tell her I’ve seen a hawk beak a pigeon cold on a branch by the Wells Fargo, a bile she-cat take a squirrel in Hemming Plaza.
I tell her, than us, hunger is patient as the dogwood stone smooth as an axe handle for the starved Confederate dead,
the river’s belt-narrow bend. And it’s all a long weeding, I tell her. She doesn’t answer, eyes blue as blue shadows, blue as the manicured grass
for my gold ring, a fight about money, what else, her purse-flashlight bright only in night so much darker, so dim it seems distant, a promise,
light waiting for itself. I tell her its beam shines like milk after hard fast, a debt forgiven, if unpaid. Shut up, she says, and keep
looking. [End Page 32]
And it’s all a long weeding, I say, the only answer a snap of flag on air on July fire male voice from the Plaza Jewelers’ angled
I’ve been drinking razor soup, it says to two men wearing bedrolls like life-preservers. We’re going down, one says, to the Kings Street shelter.
And I feel above us its specter, eagle talons chill, feathers like eye-teeth, horned head sneering. It will pick them clean,
I see its shadow fall slant on your nose, itself slant on your small skull, so beautiful, so much blood keeping our skulls beautiful.
I hate it when I get like this. I hate you can see it. When life tells you something, I say, believe it. I do, you say, and keep
looking. [End Page 33]
The sky remembers neither cloud nor bird, but it doesn’t forget. Dust doesn’t forget mud, nor mud dust. Salt doesn’t forget
even dissolved in so much ocean, its grains ghostly but material, articles of faith yet to be disproven.
This may be why, if air-dried after a sea-swim, my hands flash and my chest floods with scales,
my body a reflection, salt’s chance to crystallize memory. But I am the one who recalls remembrance
is skin-deep, a veiled mirror, who still knows I forget nothing unless I remember I’ve forgotten. [End Page 34]
Andres Rojas came to the U.S. from Cuba at age thirteen. He holds an M.F.A. and a J.D. from the University of Florida and currently works for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. His poetry has previously appeared in New England Review and has been featured or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Cossack Review, Massachusetts Review, and other journals.